CONTROVERSIAL plans to axe rural bin collections in Rossendale - which made the valley ‘a national laughing stock’ - have been overturned.

Countryside campaigners celebrated after a final 300 homes were told they would be now be placed on fortnightly refuse and recycling rounds.

Around 368 properties had already been informed that town hall chiefs were ready to do a U-turn on a policy they hoped would save them £76,000 per year.

People living in more remote locations in Rossendale had been urged to leave their bin bags at one of dozens of collections points.

Alan Walker, from protest group DIY Binmen, said: “If one of us dropped a bag of rubbish then they would be fly-tipping.

“How could it be right to introduce 107 dumping points for bags of rubbish across the valley?”

Protesters had presented a 1,915-signature petition to the authority, demanding the restoration of bin collections.

Coun Anne Cheetham, who represents rural Edenfield, said she was happy that Rossendale was not going to become a ‘laughing stock’ across the country.

Council officials say improvements to some roads and bridges have enabled them to reconsider the changes.

The changes, which come into force from October 18, will see most of the rural residents switch from bin bags to wheelie bins and recycling sacks.

But some households, in more hard-to-reach locations, will retain bin bags, which will be collected by a street cleansing cage truck.

Council leader Coun Alyson Barnes said that the policy, introduced by Conservatives as part of the 2011-12 budget, should have been consulted on ‘thoroughly’ before the May elections, at which the Tories lost control of the valley.

Coun Brian Essex said it was clear, from council papers, that consultation should have happened earlier.

And Coun Darryl Smith, Tory deputy leader, said the Labour-controlled administration was guilty of ‘cheap political points-scoring’ in trying to divert blame for the policy.

The council’s proposals to create dumping points made national newspaper headlines.